"When we got to the scene, we had a fully involved duplex, and a fire extended into another set of duplexes," Weaver said. A fifth house, a separate home at 566 W. Franklin, was just 5 feet away.
Only one person, an 84-year-old woman, was home when the fire began, he said, and she was brought outside by a mailman. Weaver did not know which house the woman lived in, but she was safe Wednesday night.
As the fire moved to the second and third houses, smoke rose hundreds of feet into the sky. Three alarms brought in firefighters from Slatington, Walnutport, Lehigh Township, Palmerton, Friedens, Germansville, Aquashicola, Schnecksville and Neffs fire companies.
Greenawalds and Catasauqua companies provided rapid intervention teams to protect firefighters.
The firefighters battled the flames for more than two hours. When it was out, two houses were destroyed, the two at 554 and 556 W. Franklin had severely damaged attics, and the single home at 566 W. Franklin had relatively minor damage, Weaver said.
A state police fire marshal from Bethlehem barracks will investigate the fire to determine where and how it started, he said.
Damage to all five houses was extensive enough that the residents could not return home immediately.
At the duplex where the fire started, two adults at 560 W. Franklin and four adults at 562 W. Franklin lost their homes, according to the American Red Cross of the Greater Lehigh Valley.
The Red Cross provided meals to all the displaced, including two adults at 554 W. Franklin, two adults at 556 W. Franklin and four adults at 566 W. Franklin. All those affected found emergency lodging with relatives, the Red Cross said.
During the blaze, Woodlawn, Northamtpon borough and Lehighton fire companies were on standby. Macungie EMS, East Penn Goodwill and Northern Valley EMS also assisted.
Written by The Morning Call
Courtesy of YellowBrix - YellowBrix